Interview for New Musical Express • Saturday, May 19, 1973

Linda The Unloved?

Press interview • Interview of Linda McCartney
Published by:
New Musical Express
Interview by:
Julie Webb
Timeline More from year 1973
The Randolph Hotel, Oxford, UK

Related tour

Related concert

Oxford • New Theatre • United Kingdom

May 12, 1973 • United Kingdom • Oxford • New Theatre

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Feb 22, 1987 • From The Telegraph

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Sep 21, 1982 • From The Guardian

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Mar 25, 1978 • From Record Mirror

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Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


FOUR FINGERS, CLOSELY followed by a thumb, feel their way round a curtain that is quickly pulled back to reveal a young girl, trying desperately to climb through a window into the after-gig Press reception for Wings. The place: The Randolph Hotel, Oxford. 

“Where is he then?” she asks in a cockney, rather than Oxford, accent. 

She’s told he hasn’t arrived yet.

“Oh yes he has. I kissed him as he came through the door.” 

It is our first knowledge that McCartney has actually reached the hotel after his gig at the nearby New Theatre. There are some 100 or so journalists, photographers and freeloaders grabbing for drinks and feeding themselves on expensive bits of food, but above all waiting for Paul to make his entrance.

A few minutes later, three members of Wings – Henry McCullough, Denny Seiwell and Denny Laine – enter and mingle. But it is virtually another hour before McCartney and missus make their entrance.

Conversation among journalists who’d seen the show is mixed. “Incredible, great show” is one view, while five others disagree – “Nothing special. If it hadn’t been for Denny Laine, they’d have been lost.

Dreadful,” someone else remarks, and an elderly man keeps wandering round asking all and sundry if we think the Beatles will get back together again.

And then, finally, Paul and Linda make their entrance, arm in arm. Photographers leap towards them, snap happy, stopping them in their tracks. Pretty soon they’re surrounded by about 50 people.

“Hey, can you look this way?”

“Can we have one of you smiling in this direction?”

It’s as if no one’s eaten for a week and the McCartneys have entered bearing a T Bone steak. Like bees around honey, they swarm in for the kill.

Paul looks like Paul – he doesn’t seem to have aged any. And Linda, well she looks quite different really. Better than you might expect – younger, skinnier, prettier.

She has an amazing hairstyle, a la little red rooster, which raises jokes of arguments with a lawn mower. It was in fact cut by Paul and suits her.

They adjourn to one side of the room, and sit down to face more cameras and questions. I squeeze through the throng into a seat on Linda’s left.

And here I am, sitting next to a woman for whom a lot of people have no love at all. The public image of Linda McCartney is not a pretty one. She’s been called everything from hard-bitten to a groupie, and in pictures of her and Paul she always seems to be arm in arm as if there’s no way anyone’s gonna prize them apart. He’s her man and she wants every other lady to know they have no chance, but no chance.

In fact she’s not like that at all. She isn’t holding or grabbing his arm. and when one loud photographer leans over and asks: “Linda can you ask your husband if we can have a photograph of you both together?” she turns him away with: “Ask him yourself.

She is an articulate, intelligent person – and fully aware that she’s not everyone’s darling.

Linda The Unloved?

“I don’t know the public’s idea of me, because it varies so much. Sometimes I hear I intrude; then I hear I don’t come on enough; then I hear I can’t play.

“I must own up: personally, I don’t get annoyed. If I was living alone and I read all that stuff about myself, I’d just brush it off like that. I want to get it through to people that they needn’t do all that.”

“The Press could make the world a better place, but they don’t. Just because I married Paul, I’ve become someone people write about, but I don’t care and that’s the truth.”

And what of the musical criticism?

“I’m not so nervous as I used to be on stage. I’ve got more knowledge, I guess. I was always scared in the beginning in case I made a mistake.”

So musically where exactly is she at? In what direction are Wings headed?

“New direction. We all want to rock a bit. When I say “new” I don’t mean a whole new revolution, but things that will turn us on as a band. I personally like electric guitars and Moog. That’s why I like Sweet. I think the sound they get on ‘Blockbuster’ is so good. I love them on Top Of The Pops.”

What about Bowie?

“We stopped by his rehearsal because we were rehearsing the week before they started over in Fulham Road. We heard they were coming, so we went. I think he’s great looking and a really nice person.”

AT THIS POINT, a large man (stage left) pushes a microphone up Linda’s nose and asks if she thought Bowie and his type of “weird space age rock” would really take off.

“He’s just mime. He’s just trying a bit of theatre with music. I only saw him rehearse but, to me, they are just a band, and he is the lead singer. Oh You Pretty Thing’ is just a pop song, isn’t it?”

The man interrupts again, exhibiting a strong streak of anti-Bowie, and Linda rises to his defence.

“He’s written some good songs and he’s got a good band. He hasn’t just got a bunch of tarts up there – they are good.”

And back on the subject of what turns her on musically: 

“I’m really mad about Jamaican reggae. We were recently in Jamaica and when you’re there, you tend to buy tons of singles. I’ve liked reggae for a long while now. The reggae song we do on stage, I wrote that years ago.”

Does songwriting come easy? 

“I find words and chords are quite easy. I discovered a thing I thought was new, though, and it turned out that ‘Diana’ and all those songs had used the chords I’d found. I started playing them to Paul and he said: ‘Been done before love’. I’m just learning about country and western. I was so into rock ‘n’ roll that I missed out…”

Will their music take on a more political flavour?

“Oh yeah. We are more political than anybody gives us credit for. We think very politically but it’s only part of life. The thing I don’t like about politicians is they are not for the people. What the Government should do is make a better place to live in. Like Heath goes sailing…  there’s a big Irish problem, and Heath is always on his sailboat.

“I read in ‘Time’ magazine how Nixon had changed his image and I thought Bloody hell. I find it hard to put it in a song –  but I think it.”

The Oxford gig Linda feels was “great”, even though it was noticeable the crowd didn’t get off at the beginning. A challenge, she says, is a good thing.

“I don’t worry because we’ve done enough to know that we always get them off at some point. Like last night (at Bristol) they were buzzing all evening, but you can’t expect them to buzz before you’ve done anything. A lot of people didn’t know what we were about.

“Paul’s attitude is to go out and fight it. His whole thing is that he wants the band to be good and play well and fight it.”

Yet surely Linda is aware that a certain section of a Wings audience is there simply to see an ex-Beatle. Or there for nostalgia reasons, hoping Paul will sing an old Beatle song?

“Yeah, they may come for that, but I hope they go away digging it. Paul really digs being in a band. He really loves performing, he loves it to be good and loves things to end up well. He’s not into that Beatle trip, none of us are.

“At least the audiences get off. And it gets better all the time.”

And what of the reviews, which haven’t always been kind?

“One review I read said: “What’s the band doing with Paul? Then I read: ‘What’s Paul doing with the band?” And I think – each to his own opinion.”

And the television show, which got bad reviews in America?

“The American critics were very square about it – I mean really square. They said Paul was too cute, and what that has to with it I don’t know. I think everybody expects God to appear whenever Paul does anything.

“Personally, I liked the show. But we had to compromise a lot on it. Like a lot of our ideas were not in it. You see, it depends if you are going towards the critics or the people. The people loved it.”

Isn’t it true that Paul is sensitive to criticism. He was once quoted as saying he was…

“Yeah well, when you’re talking into a microphone and people ask you questions about things that really don’t enter your everyday life, you tend to say stuff like that. You read stuff and you wonder, that’s all. But it doesn’t hang you up.”

And finally, someone had to ask. And from the other side of the room a loud voice booms: “And will the Beatles get together again?

Linda: “That’s like asking Elizabeth Taylor if she’s getting back together with Eddie Fisher.

Last updated on August 14, 2023


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